Recently when discussing food choices with the wait staff at various restaurants, I have been asked questions like, "Are you gluten free by choice or necessity?" or "Is it a lifestyle choice?" or "Is it an allergy?" I usually go with "allergy" because it is a lot easier to explain. I really don't want to turn my dining out experience into a teachable moment on non-celiac gluten intolerance or celiac disease. "Allergy" works just fine for me. Most people understand this concept. I follow with a warning that if I get exposed to gluten the ambulance will have to come and take me away. (Of course this would never happen.) Celia Kaye, blog writer at the Huffington Post, recently posted an article that brings this thought home. You can read her article here.
Black bean spaghetti is a perfect way to incorporate fiber into a gluten-free diet. When I tried it for the first time, I was concerned there was going to be an overwhelming “bean” flavor. What a surprise! There wasn’t. It is flavorful in its own right but didn't overpower sauces or added flavors when combined with other ingredients.
To learn if this spaghetti could really deliver delicious results, I began by cooking it in a large pot of boiling water with just a splash of olive oil and salt added. The package directions state to cook for 6-8 minutes or until tender. I found the perfect al dente texture to occur at just past 7 minutes. I drained the spaghetti and then gave it a quick rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. The texture remained al dente and did not become mushy like so many gluten-free pastas I have tried.
I have experimented with different sauces and I think my favorite is a simple marinara sauce with sautéed mushrooms and topped with lots of freshly grated Romano cheese!
Here are some reasons why we like black bean spaghetti at our house:
As the summer comes to a close and Labor Day approaches it is time to warm up the kitchen and this is one of my favorites to begin fall cooking. It is a tasty dish that stands on its own as a main dish with a salad. It makes a great pot luck dish when you want to make sure there will be something gluten free at the dinner and you are tired of bringing veggies or cheese and gluten-free crackers! Give it a try and let me now what you think. I haven't tried it with chicken but I think it should work. You can print it here.
I recently attended an allergy-free luncheon sponsored by Frannie's Gluten-Free and Pure Knead. It was a lovely spread with samples of their product lines. Frannie's Gluten-Free produces a line of muffins and cookies distributed in grocery stores in the southeastern US. Muffins are not only gluten free but also dairy, nut and soy free as well as GFCO certified. Pure Knead produces a line of bread products and brownies baked in a dedicated gluten-free facility. All products were delicious and it was a great opportunity to try before buying. Too often I have gotten stuck buying a gluten-free product only to throw it away after trying it at home because it tasted awful.
How do I learn about these events? Well most of the time it is from an announcement sent from our local chapter of the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) and sometimes from a local grocery store specialized in organic food products or allergy-free products. I would encourage you to join your local chapter of GIG. It not only is a way to support gluten-free efforts in your community but it is great way to learn new things about living gluten free! If there isn't a chapter near you, think about starting one. You can get information about starting a chapter from the national GIG office.
Mild cognitive impairment or “brain fog” associated with celiac disease has shown to improve in patients who adhered to a gluten-free diet, according to recent study data reported in the June 2014 issue of the journal Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Read here
You can hear Joseph Murray, M.D. from the Mayo Clinic discuss this research. Just click here.
Grocery shopping can be a tedious and scary process when you are first learning how to eat gluten free. It is important to read every label to look for those hidden glutens. Taking a list of what those are can be helpful when you are learning what to look for. Here is a list to get you started. There are also apps you can download to your smartphone. The new FDA labeling regulations should help.
Too often I have been caught buying a product to learn when I got home that it was not gluten free. Product formulations change and a brand that you checked before might have changed and is no longer gluten free. And I have had the opposite happen, a product that previously had modified food starch, for example, changed to modified corn starch. On the Schar website, I came across some tips on grocery shopping. Click here to learn about walking down the grocery aisle!
Scar is a large European-based company, that makes and sells more than 100 gluten-free products throughout Europe ranging from breads and crackers to pastas and cookies. Their parent company is based in Italy. In 2012 they opened a 60,000 square-foot bread bakery facility in New Jersey and now sells their products in the US.
Lemon pudding cake has always been one of my favorite comfort foods! When I learned that I had to eat a gluten-free diet, it was one of the first recipes I decided to re-make until I got it just right. This dessert is a sponge cake that rises to the top above a light lemon pudding. After many failures here it is and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Click here for your own copy of the recipe!
I recently attended a lecture on symptoms of celiac disease in the mouth. I always though of gluten only affecting the gastrointestinal tract or the skin. To learn more about the dental enamel defects in celiac disease, click here.
It also made me aware that on my next trip to the dentist I should probably ask about gluten-free options for the products used in various dental procedures.
So in what dental products can gluten commonly be found?
When looking for a college or university, the ability to live a gluten-free lifestyle can be an important consideration for some students.
The University of Connecticut (UCONN) is ranked #1 for the gluten-free options offered to its students through their meal plan. The list of the Top 10 Gluten Free Accommodating Colleges for 2014 was announced July 11 at the 2014 meeting of the National Association of College and University Food Services. Not only is UCONN a fine academic institution but it is a safe place for students with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance! Read more...
A recent article by Ted Bosworth appeared in the July 14, 2014 issue of Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News, the indepenent monthly newslatter for gastroenterologists. He states that fewer than half of people who should be screened for celiac disease according to current guidelines are being evaluated for the condition. Read more at ....